Wow: Astronomers have seen a fabulous and interesting phenomenon for the first time in history!
Article by: Andacs Robert Eugen, on 15 May 2022, at 09:09 am Los Angeles time
German astronomers have captured a phenomenon never seen before in space, and preliminary details are very interesting.
Specifically, they first observed a white dwarf star exploding with X-rays with the help of the eROSITA X-ray telescope, which is now more than 1.5 million km from Earth.
The white dwarfs are the remains of an almost dead star, which has consumed all its fuel.
They can sometimes rotate at huge speeds, they can even reach 100 rotations per second. White dwarfs like this are called white dwarfs in milliseconds.
In any case, white dwarfs usually emits a lot of radiation, but only now has it been confirmed that they can also emit radiation in the form of X-rays.
The telescope first observed the phenomenon on July 7, 2020, when it was aimed at a portion of the sky where the mysterious phenomenon was to occur.
According to astronomers, it happened quite suddenly.
The X-ray explosion could be observed for four hours, at which point the telescope was not very prepared for this sudden X-ray excess.
"These X-ray flashes last only a few hours and are almost impossible to predict, but the observational instrument must be pointed directly at the explosion at exactly the right time," the researchers explained.
"These so-called novae do happen all the time, but detecting them during the very first moments when most of the X-ray emission is produced is really hard. Not only the short duration of a flash is a challenge, but also the fact that the spectrum of emitted X-rays is very soft," said Dr. Victor Doroshenko from Tubingen University.
"Soft X-rays are not very energetic and easily absorbed by interstellar medium, so we cannot see very far in this band, which limits the number of observable objects, be it a nova or ordinary star. Telescopes are normally designed to be most effective in harder X-rays where absorption is less important, and that's exactly the reason why they would miss an event like this," Doroshenko concluded,"
Even though the phenomenon took astronomers and the telescope by surprise and lasted very little, they managed to get data to better understand how white dwarf erupted.